Mentor:Dr. James Kennedy
Research Topic:Biodiversity of non-biting midges (Diptera: Chironomidae) within Denton watersheds along an urban gradient
Abstract:This project is part of a larger study by University of North Texas Benthic Ecology Laboratory, examining the ecological health for six of Denton’s storm water retention ponds across an urban gradient. The purpose of this research segment is to understand how Chironomid population characteristics respond to watershed components and anthropogenic influences on water quality. Chironomidae (Insecta: Diptera) are often the most dominant and productive aquatic insect within freshwater ecosystems. Larval chironomids were collected from the ponds through sweep net sampling of three habitat types, within a meter squared, during May of 2017. Abundance counts from these sampling dates suggest differing habitat preference of the chironomids between cattails, emergent vegetation, and submerged vegetation. The larvae collected will be identified to the genus level. These data will be correlated with land use and physical chemical values to identify the population most sensitive metrics in changes to watershed. The results of this study will be integrated with ongoing research within the ponds to develop a conservation plan to protect Denton’s water resources and maximize their aquatic invertebrate diversity.